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Continued: Volunteers fuel efforts to serve the homeless in Anoka County

  • Article by: ANNA PRATT , Special to the Star Tribune
  • Last update: October 1, 2013 - 2:26 PM

Right now, the organization has 18 partner churches. It is recruiting more churches to help fill vacancies in its 2014 schedule. Host churches usually take in four families or up to 14 people for as long as four weeks.

As for individuals, churches always need volunteers on hand to stay overnight, serve meals or participate in fun group activities. “It’s a great opportunity for college students. They can get community service credit and they can sleep or study,” Rodriguez said.

Family Promise is also looking for volunteers to staff a couple of upcoming events, including an open house at its day center on Oct. 22 from 5-8 p.m.

On Oct. 25, the organization is hosting an event called Cameron’s Dream Sleep Out from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m. in the parking lot of Lord of Life church, at the same address as the day center. Family Promise needs volunteers to help with check-in and answer questions and direct people, Rodriguez said.

Beyond that, people can volunteer to coordinate a fund- raiser or a donation drive, she said.

Hope 4 Youth

Earlier this year, a group of concerned citizens pulled together to open Hope 4 Youth, a drop-in center for homeless youth, located in an old milk factory in downtown Anoka.

The drop-in center offers hot meals, clean clothes and job and housing assistance to youth. It’s also a safe place for young people to hang out.

Hope 4 Youth’s founders sought to respond to rising homelessness in the Anoka-Hennepin School District, the website states.

The district counted more than 700 homeless students during the 2012-13 school year, according to Hope 4 Youth materials. Many of those students were unaccompanied. The year before, the district had 581 homeless students.

Karrie Schaaf, the district’s homeless liaison, helped to get Hope 4 Youth up and running.

The place, which is entirely volunteer-driven, is seeing an average of 15 youth daily, she said. “The big things when kids are coming in is food and shelter,” she said.

To address the need, the center is always looking for volunteers to help raise money, do outreach or provide office support.

More directly, it also needs volunteers to serve hot meals, lead parenting classes or stock the food shelf.

Volunteers are also needed to work one-on-one with youth to help them achieve their goals, Schaaf said.

Also, the center is hosting a fundraising gala on Nov. 16 at 5:30 p.m. (dinner will be served at 7 p.m.) at the Green Haven Golf and Banquet Center in Anoka. The event includes silent and live auctions. Hope 4 Youth will also be taking donations. To find out more about the event, call 763-496-1494.

Stepping Stone Emergency Housing

Stepping Stone Emergency Housing expanded from 16 to 60 beds when it relocated to a bigger building in Anoka in September 2012.

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